Guest Blogs

“Disposable Friendships”

Not much is permanent in my ADHD world – including my friendships with women. How can I find friends and build lasting connections that will stand the test of attention deficit?

The relatives from hell are gone now. Yay. The trip was a success. They showed off the daughter, the fiancé, and their own new status as parents of a full-fledged MD. I gritted my teeth and grinned and struggled to be happy for them.

The aunt, who is a pro at the comparison game, greeted me by asking how long I’d be on this continent for. She reminded me that it’s been almost two years since I left the Big Apple, two years since I moved out of that penthouse on the UES. Oh, and by the way, was that apartment still available and open for rent?

Before I could answer she swiftly followed that with this question. Was my current job permanent? “Contract,” I said. Oh, it’s a contract, she said. Was she a parrot? So it’s not permanent, she concluded, almost to herself. But what is permanent these days, especially in the ADHD world?

The stepmother was silent when I shared this encounter with her. “The only reason why she annoyed you is because you’re not comfortable with yourself,” she said matter-of-factly. “If you were comfortable with things, you wouldn’t be mad.” Why is the stepmother so smart? Is it because she’s a practicing Buddhist?

Back to the theme of permanence or impermanence. Lately I’ve been struggling with the idea of friends and developing long-term friendships. My friends are transitory. I go through friends like tweens go through their wardrobe. The disposable wardrobe, the disposable friendships.

Part of the problem is that I am split between two worlds and two continents, perhaps purposefully. I don’t want to commit to either place. If I do commit, I feel like I am straitjacketed, so I remain a moving target. Here, there, everywhere. The long dating drought bothers me, but what bothers me more is that I can’t seem to hold on to girl friendships either. Or is it all in my head?

This past week the father arrived from the other continent bearing bits of Americana with him, including goodies from Trader Joe’s and Target. Ahhh, Target. He came to see the grandmother who took a spill several weeks ago and is slowly mending, body and spirit.

He observed that I had three things that I needed to work on: be more open, more generous; move beyond the tit-for-tat method with people; and don’t take things so seriously.

“Stop analyzing everything about other people and yourself,” the father said.

The aunt says that the key is to be genuine to others, and I had to ask myself if I was sincere to others. How permanent could a friendship be if I am not sincere? Do I genuinely want to be friends with this person, or am I doing this just to add them to my list of friends? I’m mulling over these questions in my head as I contemplate my “so-called life” at 36.